I love the book of Nehemiah. To me, it represents the struggle of life. It shows the emotions of a life that has its share of ups and downs. It lets us know that one person can make a difference in a city and a nation. It gives us hope that we can accomplish great things when God gives the vision and the burden. It gives a great example of teamwork and how people can work together for a common goal. It also challenges our faith and pushes us to a deeper trust in God through fasting and prayer.
In chapter 4, the people were working to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They were making great progress, but there were those who were angry about it. They plotted to attack and confuse those who were working to rebuild. They remind me of the people who want to keep you in a state of ruin. They fight progress in your life at all costs. The old saying goes, “Misery loves company.” Those who are miserable will do everything they can to keep you from rebuilding. They want you to stay in the shambles of your life and prevent you from moving forward. They stand in the way of what God called you to do, but you can’t let them.
Nehemiah wasn’t going to let people like that deter him. He knew God had called him to rebuild. Verse 9 tells us how he fought against those who wanted to hold back progress. It says, “But we prayed to our God and kept men on guard against them day and night.” He didn’t pray alone and he wasn’t a watchman alone. He used the word “we”. In rebuilding, you’re going to need a team around you who can pray with you and for you as well as to help stand guard over your life against those who would drag you down and slow your progress. You’re going to need someone who can be honest with you and stay up all night praying if needed.
Even though Nehemiah had the help, the people still got discouraged from the attackers. They started focusing on the work instead of the vision. In verse 10, the people began to sing, “We grow weak carrying burdens; there’s so much rubble to take away. How can we build the wall today?” When we lose sight of God’s vision in our lives, our daily work becomes a struggle. A wall or life isn’t rebuilt in a day. It’s rebuilt one bag of rubble at a time. It’s rebuilt one brick at a time. Even though it can be destroyed in an instant, it takes time to rebuild. Don’t get caught up in the burdens of rebuilding wanting quick progress. Remember God’s vision of what could be and continue the work.
Helping people remember the vision and who gave it is how Nehemiah rallied them. In verse 14 he said, “Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your brothers and sisters, your daughters, your wives, and your homes!” He had to remind them how great our God is and why it’s worth rebuilding. In the next verse, it says that they returned to their work. They quit worrying about those standing in the way of progress and quit focusing on the day to day operations because they remembered it was God who called them. That same God gives us the increase when we pick up a brick and start to rebuild.